Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri

I love this review of Book 5 of Andrea Camerilli’s hillarious and endearing Inspector Montalbanno by a fellow blogger!

Patrick Sherriff

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In Montalbano’s fifth adventure, I’m really getting to love the Sicilian inspector’s  eccentricities. It’s quite a joy to see our devil-may-care hero pick locks, break up marriages, sleep under olive trees and lie to his superiors all in the pursuit of true, rather than letter-of-the-law, justice. He demonstrates an admirable contempt for pen-pushers, mafioso bullies, and office hours, while also displaying a personal flaw or two, notably one for delicious Sicilian food, which makes welcome appearances throughout the mystery, this one concerning three murders, pornography and a conspiracy that goes, as you’d expect, right to the top of Sicilian society.  Great fare.

No. 33 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2019.

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Patrick Sherriff publishes a monthly newsletter highlighting good fiction about Japan and featuring an original painting or sketch. He lives in Abiko, Japan, with his wife and two daughters.

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Book Review “Kingdom of Copper” by S. A. Chakraborty

Number of stars: 5 of 5

Genre: Fantasy/high fantasy, adult fiction

Edition: Hardcover

Kingdom of copper

Wow wow wow! This book was even better than the first one. Loved how the author wrote each chapter by alternating between the three main protagonist’s views: Nahri, Ali, and Dara.
Nahri definitely redeemed herself (in my personal opinion) in this book. She is feisty, brilliant, and shrewd. Loved how she interacted with her patients and her in-laws.
Ali has changed a little since the first epic book and even though he’s afraid and disgusted at his new powers, I like them. I like how he’s always doing good for people despite the consequences to himself.
I didn’t expect to hear from Dara again after that cliffhanger in book one, but there were nice flashbacks/perspective of what is (was?) going on in his life while he was away from Deavabad.
And the best part about this book was it NEVER let up! I was gobbling it and staying up late at night to read more chapters. Wonderful movement and gripping narrative. There’s so much action here, political conundrums, magic, suspense, and romance.
Definitely an adult fantasy. Read more like high fantasy for me and I would be lost without the “dramatis personae” in the front pages. There are so many people to keep track of.

 

Review of “Shades of Earth” by Beth Revis.

Number of stars: 4 out of 5

Genre: Sci-fi, Space opera, Romance

Edition: Paperback

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The last book in the series deserves serious applause! I enjoyed being introduced into a strange universe and life on “Godspeed” in the 1st book “Across the Universe”, slogged through the middle book “A Million Suns” and resolved to read the last one just so that I would know how the story ends.
SO glad that I did! This was my favorite book in the trilogy.

Here’s why.
1: Amy continues to be a cool detective character, letting her burning curiosity lead her when the humans (all those born and raised on the mother ship “Godspeed” and those from Earth frozen for centuries) land on Centauri-Earth and start exploring their new home.
2: I’ve been waiting for Elder to grow a backbone forEVER in this series and he did a little in this book as he assumed leadership of his people, and went toe-to-toe with Amy’s father.
3: We were introduced to new characters that really lent excitement, intrigue and even cuddly feels in this story, such as Emma Bledsoe (loved her), Chris (ended up hating his guts), and Kit (the sweet apprentice medic from “Godspeed”).
4: The plot moved! There was very little downtime. The colony of mixed humans were so busy trying to survive, work together, and figure out what the “frex” was trying to kill them that they didn’t have time for slow scenes. Loved it.
5: The ENDING! Stars, that was a great ending. I must confess after the end of Chapter 69 (spoiler; view it here on Goodreads.com) I was absolutely furious at the author! But I kept reading at a quick pace, and was finally able to breath again at the end of Chapter 79. Then I switched to clapping for Revis instead of cursing her.

This is a great series for space opera fans, and fans of light YA romance! There were some disgusting scenes about autopsy since Amy’s mother was a scientist…so if you get a queasy stomach like me, skip over those parts.

Read on!

-Rlygirl

 

Review of “Hex Hall” by Rachel Hawkins

Number of stars: 3 out of 5

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal

Edition: Audio book

 

Hex Hall

I usually don’t go for the whole “supernatural girl meets supernatural boy; cue ‘Twilight’ vibes” kind of book, but I enjoyed this one. Plus the cover is fun.
Sophie is a gifted teenager who uses her powers in public – at a school dance no less – and consequently gets sent to a private school for other supernatural kids like her to learn about and/or control said powers.
One adventure leads to another, and she ends up having a VERY unusual and stressful first year.
Hawkins has a talent for plot twists and quickly introducing the reader to new characters in a way that makes the reader care about the outcome.
My biggest complaint with this read though, is I could have used fewer cheeky references to how obviously nerdy and teenager-y Sophie’s life is. Too much. I don’t need to be told every time she is beating herself up for having regular girl feelings, (Seriously? Developing a hard crush for someone on your first day?) or repeating what the popular girls were acting like; “whole hair flip thing”. Those moments were distracting and slowed the story down. I just wanted to say “yeah yeah, we know that being a teenager means you over-think things, and use the words ‘like’ and ‘suck’ too much. Let’s move on.”
I’m interested to see where Sophie’s adventures and her path to discovering/dealing with her powers takes her next.

Review of “The Glass Magician” by Charlie N. Holmberg

Number of stars: 5 out of 5

Genre: Fantasy, Magic, YA & Steampunk

Edition: Kindle Edition

 

Glass Magician

Wow this was a great 2nd book in the series! I was very pleased with it and was engrossed in the story the whole time. Great adventure, action, suspense and colorful imagery. I like reading in this borderline steampunk setting Holmberg has created for herself too, in her own version of London.

Full review with spoilers hidden can be found here on Goodreads!

If anyone else has read this exciting book, let me know!

Rlygirl

Review of “Street Freaks” by Terry Brooks

Number of stars: 3 out of 5

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi.

Edition: Hardcover

Street Freaks

First YA/Sci-fi book out of Terry Brooks. A well written adventure with a clear plot and mysterious characters. By the way, the cover is beautiful! I enjoyed the story. Life at Street Freaks dragged for awhile until the middle of the book when the Race happened and everything kicked into high gear.
It was easy to follow the narrative and witness Ash’s development throughout the book. Some of the characters and their backstories were explored more than others like Holly, Jenny, Ash and Cay leaving certain ones such as T.J., Woodrow, The Shoe and even big bad Cyrus shallow participants in comparison.
The dialogue was well done, and there was plenty of exciting imagery and detail provided, but I got angry when Ash didn’t react like a normal human sometimes. I mean, did he even cry over his father’s death? I can’t remember. And no one even wanted to hold a proper funeral when (view spoiler) That happened!!! Seriously! It would have been nice for the reader to have some closure there even if the characters were callous.
I might even give this book 4 stars were it not for the present tense writing style Brooks used throughout. That threw me off track right off the bat and continued to distract while I read. Maybe some people like it, I hate it. “He reacts, doing this and that. So-and-so walks up behind him and says…” It was like reading a play and a novel at the same time.
Obviously that’s a sore point with me. Moving on.

Keep reading!

 

Review of “The Legends of Luke Skywalker” by Ken Liu

Number of Stars: 5

Genre: Juvenile fiction/Science fiction

Edition: HardcoverMirror image Luke Skywalker book

Fun and witty read full of surprises and thought-provoking insight into the Force and the different ways it manifests itself.
This book is a collection of 6 short stories about Luke Skywalker in the form of yarns/tales spun by different narrators. Some of them were hilarious and some of them were so bizarre they had me raising my eyebrows and thinking “really, Luke Skywalker wouldn’t do something like that.”
But since these are legends, after all, who can say what is true or not? After all, Luke could have had so many outrageous adventures in the years between the events of “Return of the Jedi” to “The Force Awakens” and all the books before Disney rebooted the Star Wars universe.
I highly recommend this read to any avid Star Wars fan, especially as true fans will catch the sly references and find themselves screaming at the pages like I did “you have it wrong! That’s not how it went at all!”
One example of how these tall tales get it wrong was a reference to Han Solo by a character who claimed “I’ve always found the Han Solo legend a bit hard to believe…I heard rumors that he used to be a bit of a rogue and would shoot first…”
We all know the debate about who shot first!!!

Han-Shot-First image

I had a pile of fun reading this book. It will stay in my personal collection for sure.

Read on!

Rlygirl

Review of “Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance” by Oliver Bowden

Number of stars: 4

Genre: Historical fiction, fantasy

Edition: Paperback

Assassins Creed

 

Where other men blindly follow the truth, remember.
Nothing is true.
Where other men are limited by morality and law, remember
Everything is permitted.
We work in the dark, to serve the light. 
We are Assassins.

Although I enjoyed this read, being a huge Assassin’s Creed fan doesn’t mean I have to throw honesty aside and automatically give this book 5 stars… I only give this book 4 of 5 stars mainly due to clunky sentence structure. The plot was fantastic. The size and spacing of the chapters worked perfectly and the host of characters were interesting and well rounded.
This is a riveting tale of famous Assassin Ezio Auditore, told over the book’s nearly 24 year period.
We get to see how he became part of the Order. His ups and downs as a young man, his reasons for joining. This wasn’t just a tale of blind vengeance. Ezio’s tale was about improving the lives of those less fortunate, cleverly liberating cities, reuniting with old friends, family and romantic flames, and even working with some of the most famous characters of the Dark Ages. (Eg. Leonardo da Vinci and a few Popes.)

The author’s writing style was concise and descriptive, but the writing suffered throughout by using too many cliches and jargon when less words would do. As a reader I found myself distracted, rolling my eyes sometimes at the predictable choice of words and sifting through huge sentences of cheesy lines.

However, this was still a highly entertaining read. The author was talented in the way he used the timeline, hinting at real life events and taking liberties with certain key characters. I also appreciated the way he would gently and effectively show a block of time passing, like a year without bogging the speed of the book down too much.

Most importantly, this book has an overwhelming sense of comradery, daring adventure, peril and special effects that fans experienced jumping off rooftops or chasing pickpockets like the Ubisoft videos games provided.

By the way. Did anyone else know that Oliver Bowden is a pen name for British writer Anton Gill? News to me before today.

Enjoy the read!

Rlygirl

Review of “The Paper Magician” by Charlie N. Holmberg

Number of Stars: 5

Genre: Fantasy, Magic, YA, & borderline steampunk

Edition: Kindle Edition

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First of all, in case anyone beside me HAD to know if the author was a man or a woman, given the name…a woman wrote this book.

I don’t often give books 5 stars reviews, but this read was so refreshing and delightful I cannot help myself! The title and the cover seem simple at first glance, but the plot was unique and the characters well-rounded.

The story started out slowly, sluggishly even, with a disgruntled female lead Ceony settling into her role as an apprentice (although she didn’t do any bowing and scraping. She’s a strong female who didn’t let a man walk all over her) during some hum-drum chapters about her lessons and daily life. Then the action and suspense slammed into my chest (no pun intended) in Chapter 5. I was blown away. Adventure and exploration followed after that and I was engrossed in the book until the end.

How many books have the heroine exploring the four different chambers of someone’s heart, both literally and figuratively? “Cool”, “Different”, “Interesting” adjectives leap into my head but I can’t use one to describe this book. I loved the surprising turn the book took at the end (subtle as it was) and I’m eager to read the next installment in the series to see what happens between Ceony and Emery.

Do they know what happened to Lira? Will they go after the evil Grath Cobalt in Book 2?

I’ll let you know how Book 2 “The Glass Magician” turns out!

‘Till next time,

Rlygirl

Review of “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline

This was a part relaxing, part intense read about a orphan growing up and surviving in the Great Depression.

I’ve been on a kick reading books set in the Great Depression and stumbled upon this one in my local library.

And I gave it a RARE 5 stars on Goodreads!!!

It is an adult read, but I think it’s suitable for mature YA as well. Story follows a young  Irish girl named Nieve (her name is changed by those who take her in) and the well-written plot had me laughing, crying and staring in horror at certain places. If you like your stories read to you, the audio version is fantastic as well.

Full review and details on Goodreads, check it out HERE!

Rlygirl